Share This Page

Tens of thousands protest Muslim Brotherhood-led government in Egypt

| Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, 7:18 p.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
On the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, protesters march to Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Protesters hold a large flag during a march, on the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, near Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013. The protesters are calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Protesters march, on the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, to Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013. The protesters are calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Protesters carry an injured man from a clash with police on an off street of Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A protesters flees teargas during a clash with police near Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Protesters clash with police near Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Protesters clash with police near Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Protesters clash with police near Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A protester stands in the middle of a road during a clash with police nearTahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A man is reflected in a window as a march passes on the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, on its way to Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013. The protesters are calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Protesters hold flags during a march, on the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, as they march to Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013. The protesters are calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A protester carries a teargas canister after police fired it on protesters as they clashed on an off street of Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A man sits holding signs in protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the revolution. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A man holds a flag in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013 on the second anniversary of the revolution. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A man waves a flag from atop a monument in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the revolution. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
People watch from a restaurant window as a large protest march passes on the way to Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013. The protesters are calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and are demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
People line up and cheer as they watch a protest march pass on the way to Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013. The protesters are calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and are demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A protester throws a stone as they clash with police on an off street of Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Protesters throw stones as they clash with police on an off street of Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A woman chants as she marches with protesters, on the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, to Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013. The protesters are calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A protester takes aim at police with a slingshot during a clash with police on an off street of Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Masks are sold in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013 the second anniversary of the revolution. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A young boy holds a flag from atop his father's shoulders during a march, on the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, to Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013. The protesters are calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A young boy takes refuge in a wooden box as rocks fall from all around during a clash with police and protesters on an off street of Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A effigy of Mohamed Morsy, who Egyptians call a spare tire, hangs in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of revolution. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A protester leads a chant during a march, on the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, to Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013. The protesters are calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
On the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, protesters march to Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Former Egyptian presidential candidate and a leader in the opposition group, The National Salvation Front, Hamdeen Sabahi (center) walks with Nobel Laureate Mohamed Elbaradei (right) during a march by protesters on the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
People watch from the windows of their home as a large protest march passes by on the way to Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013. The protesters are calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and are demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
A man carries an injured protester from a clash with police on an off street of Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
On the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, protesters march to Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, calling for the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood and demanding bread, freedom and social justice. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Protesters find protection behind a wall to throw stones as they clash with police on an off street of Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday, January 25, 2013, the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review

CAIRO – Crowds across Egypt chanted down a Muslim Brotherhood-led government on Friday, two years after the start of an uprising that ended the 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak.

Clashes here and elsewhere injured more than 250 people. Four deaths were reported in the city of Suez.

Tens of thousands filled Cairo's Tahrir Square – epicenter of the 2011 revolt – to condemn Mubarak's successor, Muhammed Morsy.

On cement block-barricaded streets, young men heaved rocks and Molotov cocktails at police firing tear gas and birdshot.

Egypt's most influential novelist, Ala'a Al Aswany, said “the Brotherhood can't impose their constitution on us” as he joined marchers heading to the square.

In December, Egyptians adopted a controversial constitution written by a Brotherhood-dominated panel. Morsy endorsed it after first claiming near-dictatorial powers as president.

His power-grab united a fractious opposition into the National Salvation Front, led by Nobel laureate and former U.N. atomic-weapons chief Mohamad El Baradei.

Aswany accused Morsy of “violating the independence of the judiciary” but said he is “optimistic we will overcome all this.”

Karim Kholy, 33, a dentist, said he joined the protests “to show the Brotherhood that we are a significant part of the population that doesn't share their view for the future of Egypt.”

“Morsy is not delivering, and the Muslim Brotherhood's religious image is just geared towards getting votes and not showing ethical values,” he said.

Crowds chanted against Morsy and Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie.

“None of the revolution's goals have been met,” said protester Shadi Moussa, 28. “There is no justice and no freedom. The Muslim Brotherhood is clamping down on the press.

“I would rather die for my freedoms than worry about it,” he declared.

Opposition leader Ziad El Elimi, 32, a former parliamentarian, said the new constitution is worse than Mubarak-era laws. “We think the old regime is continuing under the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said.

Women and Christians are especially concerned about the Islamic-leaning constitution, which protester Lamia Hassan said “neglects women.”

One sign in Tahrir proclaimed: “As the prophet said, if you rule Christians, you must treat them well.”

Radical Islamists increasingly have attacked Christians in the past two years, burning homes or churches and forcing them to flee some villages.

Muhammed Wahdan, 52, an education ministry worker, held a sign echoing the growing frustration with U.S. policy that the opposition sees as backing the Brotherhood. It read: “From Tahrir Square to the U.S. media … Obama you jerk, Muslim Brotherhood are killing Egyptians.”

“I am well aware that Obama and the American administration are the ones who enabled the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said. “I want to tell Obama that the Muslim Brotherhood tricked you.”

He said that, under the Brotherhood, “Egypt will never have stability, nor will the region. The Palestinian crisis will never be solved, and hostility will increase against Israel and the Americans.”

In Tahrir, vendors hawked Egyptian flags, white “Vendetta” masks, sweet potatoes and pink cotton candy, as volunteers distributed white medical masks to ward off tear gas.

Young protesters in black face scarves, gloves and hooded jackets were part of a new anarchist group, the Black Bloc, which has vowed to battle “the Brotherhood's militia.”

A scraggly bearded Ramadan Wahdan, 40, said he went to the square to demand the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman from a U.S. prison.

Rahman, known as “the blind sheikh,” was convicted in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and other attacks in New York. President Morsy has said he will ask for Rahman's release when he meets President Obama in Washington in March.

“He was accused falsely and he is a blind man and a great scholar,” Wahdan said of the imprisoned Egyptian cleric.

Safwan Ali, a professor of Arabic literature at Ain Shams University, vehemently disagreed. “Tahrir Square is not asking for the release of Omar Abdel Rahman!” he shouted.

As he did, a man walked by, calling: “Have you seen a lost child called Morsy?”

Violence escalated with nightfall; protesters blocked a bridge and a subway line, and scattered attacks on women were reported.

In the industrial city of Mahalla, protesters blocked a rail line and torched the governor's office. Brotherhood offices were attacked, looted or burned in several cities, including Ismailia, birthplace of the Islamic-based movement 85 years ago.

“Unless a genuine political breakthrough takes place, I worry of real, long street violence between pro- and anti-Morsy factions and people,” tweeted Egyptian writer Bassam Sabry.

Betsy Hiel is the Tribune-Review's foreign correspondent. Email her at bhiel@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.